Malibu Seen

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kelly Slater at Heal the Bay's 16th annual Bring Back the Beach dinner on Thursday at Santa Monica's Barker Hangar. The event raised $700,000 for Heal the Bay. Photo by Faye Sadou


Surf-loving celebrities, A-list aqua lovers and prominent politicians helped Heal the Bay celebrate 22 years of coastal clean up at its splashy Bring Back the Beach Ball at the Barker Hangar. The outdoor cocktail lounge was transformed into a magical seaside setting complete with serious sand castles, bouncy beach balls, colorful umbrellas, cozy picnic tables and Heal the Bay flags flapping in the breeze.

The evening was the epitome of kick-back California cool. Honoree Brian Wilson set the tone and provided the soundtrack for the evening. Guests grooved to the beat of old-school chart toppers like “Surfin’ USA” and “Little Deuce Coupe” as they sipped frosty margaritas, and servers made the rounds with wild mushroom bruschetta and potato cups filled with braised beef and tangy horseradish.

It was easy to catch a wave at the silent auction, which offered an ocean of H20 must-haves. There were bungalows on Bora Bora, underwater seascapes, surfboards, skateboards and deluxe dive packages. The dress code was beach chic with hibiscus and hula girl patterns, palm tree and pineapple prints as far as the eye could see.

There was more than fun, fun, fun at this first-class affair. Heal the Bay mixed entertainment with enlightenment and hors d’oeuvres with action. Kermit the Frog sang about the joys of being green from the roof of an eco-friendly lime hybrid. You could also do your part by signing petitions for an array of Heal the Bay-backed bills including AB 258. The measure would place restrictions on preproduction plastic nodules that end up polluting our oceans and destroying our sea life. “Every plastic object starts out as these pellets,” said Capt. Charles Moore while picking up a handful of plastic peas. “They make up 10 percent of the all debris we find on the beach. That’s 100 billion pounds annually.”

Heal the Bay pals lined up to show their support to the delight of board members like Richard Katz. “That’s the point,” Katz explained. “These people are motivated folks so we do what we can.”

Soon, the place was packed tighter than sardines with everyone from Malibu’s shirtless wonder Matthew McConaughey to age defying game show host Alex Trebek sailing into the sunset soiree.

We made our way into the dining room, which was decked out in turquoise and tangerine. Over a dinner of free-range chicken and heirloom tomato salad, emcee Bob Saget greeted the water-loving revelers. Saget saluted the year’s honorees as “role models to our children with an environmental message to convey.”

Actress Amy Smart urged others to spread the word, something she knows about first hand. “Speaking to kids about pollution and Heal the Bay was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she said. “One example equals 10,000 facts.”

And it was a night to honor the people who set those examples. The National Geographic Society was saluted for inspiring people to care about the planet. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was cited for his “bold and visionary leadership and for having an eye on the future.” There was a video tribute to iconic beach boy Brian Wilson, who also received an award.

“Today’s kids will finish the work we started,” Wilson said. “And I am sending out my good vibrations.”

But there were more good vibes to come. Wilson took the stage and delighted the crowd with golden oldies like “Surfer Girl” and “Sloop John B.” He crooned “California Girls” amid images of costal sunsets and perfect waves, bringing the crowd to its feet.

The sea-themed shindig raised thousands of dollars for Heal the Bay projects, including the Malibu Creek restoration effort. With tunes like “God Only Knows” still resonating in the background, we made our way into the night mulling over the importance of legacy, leadership and stewardship.

Cleaner waters for future generations was what this evening of excitations was all about. Making the world a better place and making a difference-oh, wouldn’t it be nice?